Saratoga at a Glance
AVG. WINNING ODDS: 4.68 – 1
FAVORITE WINNING %: 39%
FAVORITE IN THE MONEY %: 72%
TRACK BIAS MEET (07/15 – 09/06)
|DISTANCE||# of RACES||% WIRE||BEST STYLE||BEST POSTS|
TRACK BIAS WEEK (08/31 – 09/06)
|DISTANCE||# OF RACES||% WIRE||BEST STYLE||BEST POSTS|
WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT
|HOT TRAINERS||STARTS||WINS / PLACE / SHOW||AVG. ODDS||WINNING FAVORITES||20-21 WIN %|
|Baker Charlton||9||4 / 0 / 3||9.01||1||0.17|
|Kantarmaci Mertkan||9||4 / 1 / 2||15.29||3||0.15|
|Gutierrez Fausto||2||2 / 0 / 0||6.33||1||0.15|
|Lynch Brian A.||4||2 / 0 / 0||11.5||1||0.15|
|Dutrow Anthony W.||5||2 / 2 / 1||7.32||1||0.19|
|Vazquez Juan C.||6||2 / 0 / 0||14.92||1||0.11|
|COLD TRAINERS||STARTS||WINS / PLACE / SHOW||AVG. ODDS||BEATEN FAVORITES||20-21 WIN %|
|Bush Thomas M.||10||0 / 0 / 1||23.04||1||0.08|
|COLD JOCKEYS||STARTS||WINS / PLACE / SHOW||AVG. ODDS||WINNING FAVORITES||20-21 WIN %|
|Samuel Jalon L.||17||0 /1 / 1||50.35||0||0.02|
Saratoga Racing Trends
By Ashley Anderson
Thursday, July 14, marked the kickoff of Saratoga Race Course’s 2022 summer meet, featuring a 40-day race schedule and 77 stakes worth $22.6 million in total purses.
Home of the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (Aug. 27) and the $1 million Whitney Stakes (Aug. 6.), the Spa’s summer meet began with a four-day opening weekend, followed by live racing conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, throughout the summer. The final week will run through Monday, with the meet concluding on Labor Day, Sept. 5.
Below we look at some of the top racing trends at Saratoga, from trainer and jockey win percentages to track biases across different surfaces and distances, to get you ready for the 2022 meet in New York.
TRAINER WIN PERCENTAGE SINCE 2017
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has been the top trainer at Saratoga over the last decade. The two-time Preakness Stakes (G1) winner racked up 195 wins in 829 starts between 2015 and 2021, and has recorded a track-leading 342 victories from 1,415 races (24.17% win percentage), along with $35,279,462 in earnings, dating back to 2012.
Brown earned his 1,000th career win with Mr Maybe in the John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24, 2016, and his win with Practical Joke in the 2016 Hopeful S. (G1) marked his first Grade 1 victory on dirt.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher is second in wins at Saratoga going back to 2017 (143) and 2012 (308), but has won more than any trainer on Saratoga’s dirt track in both of those time frames. He is 98-for-431 (22.74%) since 2017 and 215-for-874 (24.6%) since 2012.
He also owns a pair of victories in the Travers, with Flower Alley (2005) and Stay Thirsty (2011), as well as three wins in the Whitney, with Left Bank (2002), Lawyer Ron (2007), and Cross Traffic (2013 ). He paired up with jockey John Velazquez in all but one of those victories (Stay Thirsty was ridden by Javier Castellano).
TOP SARATOGA TRAINERS ON TURF
Brown has been strongest on Saratoga’s turf, going 235-for-944 (24.89%) since 2012 with $24,617,499 in earnings. He also has a track-best 123 victories on turf (23.79% win percentage) since 2017.
Pletcher has the next most wins on turf since 2012 (93-for-556), but is tied with Christophe Clement (45-for-261) for second most turf victories since 2017, though Clement has a slightly higher win percentage — 17.24% compared to Pletcher’s 16.92%.
JOCKEY WIN PERCENTAGE SINCE 2017
Three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. is king of Saratoga, with 273 wins (19.14% win percentage) since 2017 and a total of 483 victories over 2,752 mounts since 2012.
His brother Jose ranks second in overall victories since 2017, going 269-for-1,415, and ranks first on dirt since 2017, with 143 first -place finishes, three more than Irad in that time span.
On turf, Irad has been superior, with a track-leading 133 wins in 676 mounts dating back to 2017 and 238 since 2012.
No other jockeys have collected more than 100 victories on Saratoga’s grass in the last five years. Reigning Whitney S. champion Joel Rosario ranks third on turf, with 80 first-place finishes, while six-time Travers S. winner Javier Castellano is fourth with 77 wins.
HOT TRAINER-JOCKEY COMBOS AT SARATOGA
While the Ortiz brothers lead the Spa in dirt and turf victories, Castellano is one-half of the top trainer-jockey duo at Saratoga. The four-time Eclipse winner (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016) has triumphed 67 times when paired up with Chad Brown in 292 starts (22.95% win percentage) for $6,256,617 in earnings in the last five years.
The pairing of Brown and Irad Ortiz ranks second in wins since 2017, with 59, which has translated to $5,997,836 in earnings.
Pletcher and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez are next in line (52-for-241, $4,909,330 in earnings), followed by Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana Jr. (47-for-263, $6,319,531, and Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz (40-for-144, $4,537,775).
SIRES BY WINS ON DIRT SINCE 2017
|Candy Ride (ARG)||86||18||0.2093||-0.288953|
Leading North American sire Into Mischief is the top sire at Saratoga, with 57 wins from his progeny since 2017, including 42 wins on dirt. Tapit is next in overall wins by progeny (44, and 29 on dirt), followed by Uncle Mo (37, 21 on dirt), and More Than Ready, who has produced 37 wins overall and 27 on turf, the second most sire wins on grass behind Kitten’s Joy (30).
Freud ranks third in sire wins on turf (27), followed by English Channel (23), who boasts an impressive 21.7% sire win percentage. Hard Spun (29-for-88), City Zip (16-for-78), and Animal Kingdom (10-for-49) also own a sire win rate higher than 20%, while British-based Kingman is an astounding 10-for-22, good for a 45.45% win rate since 2017.
SIRES BY WINS ON TURF SINCE 2017
|More Than Ready||145||27||0.1862||0.592414|
|Lemon Drop Kid||110||17||0.1545||-0.363182|
SARATOGA TRACK BIASES
Looking at races on the final day of Saratoga’s summer meet in 2021, we can glean some information on recent track bias. For sprint distances on dirt, 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 furlongs, pacesetters (E on Brisnet Past Performances) owned the highest win percentage.
At 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt, E horses won at a 66% clip, followed by E/P (early/presser) types at 24%. The rail post also produced winners at a 21% rate, and posts 4-7 won at a 15% rate.
Early runners were slightly less successful at six furlongs (57%) and 6 1/2 furlongs (54%), while early/pressers generated the highest impact value (1.15, 35% win rate) at seven furlongs. The rail post won 20% of the time at this distance.
On turf, E/Ps carried the highest impact value (1.24, 29% win rate) at 5 1/2 furlongs, with the rail post winning 20% of the time.
With route distances on the inner turf course, closers (S types) won 42% of the time at one mile, with the rail post winning at a 19% clip. At 1 1/16 miles, P types were most effective (35%), as were post s 1-3 (1.33 impact value, 16% win rate).
On the outer turf, E types won at a 30% rate, followed by E/P types (25%), at 1 1/16 miles. Posts 1-3 and 4-7 carried equal impact values of 1.20.